South America Travel News

Hike the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks in the world, a beautiful hike through the Andes to the famed lost city of Machu Picchu. Travelers who wish to see the iconic ruins of the Incan empire have no better means of discovering  the site than this path.

A busy road
Some hikers expect the trail to be an isolated journey through the clouds, only to find it crowded with people - 75,000 a year to be exact, according to Frommer's. Indeed, the trail has been so busy over the last few decades that a series of regulations has limited the number of travelers on the path per day. Demand is so high that the trail is often booked solid months to a year in advance. Yet, travelers would do well to remember that the path was actually once a thoroughfare set amid a vast network of ancient buildings and roads. Having to share the trail may not be such an inauthentic experience, after all.

The routes
While the name implies one path, travelers have their choice of at least three routes while still getting to experience the Inca Trail. The classic trek, which is the most scenic, takes four days, offering plenty of ruins and mountain scenery to ogle. It also demands plenty of its hikers. The two-day route is not as pretty but is much more doable for those who can't handle the steep elevations of the classic trail. The last alternative, proposed by IncaTrailPeru.com is a seven-day journey for hikers that really want to test themselves. Before linking up with the classic route, travelers will spend three days working their way around the Salkantay mountain.

Preparing to go
Whichever trail people choose, it's important that they make the right preparations. The hike into the Andes is difficult for most, if for no other reason than the high altitude. No matter what, hikers should give themselves at least  two days to adjust to the high altitudes in Cusco before beginning their journey. Once setting out, it's important to be prepared with all of the essentials. Vendors will sell bottled water and snacks on the way, so it's a good idea for travelers to carry currency just in case. Also, the trail gets cold at night, so it's important to have sleeping bags and warm clothes even when hiking in Peru's summer months. According to Lonely Planet, the best time to visit is between May and September when the trails are busy but dry.

Share
Recommended Tours

Colombia - History, Jungle and Beach

8 days from $2,856 pp*
Custom Private Tour
From the violet mist that shrouds the Andean mountains to the lush green of the jungle canopy and the sparkling turquoise of the Caribbean coast, you’ll be seduced by the rich colors of Colombia.
More Info

Essential Colombia

8 days from $2995*
Custom Private Tour
Deep beneath the streets of Zipaquira lies a marvel of engineering and artistic achievement so great that you’ll be left speechless at the ingenuity of the human spirit.
More Info

Patagonia Glamping Adventure

7 days from $4,109 pp*
Custom Private Tour
What attracted Theroux, Darwin, Melville and even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Patagonia? Come see for yourself.
More Info
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
  • Full attention of your own private guide & driver
  • In-country offices for 24/7 peace of mind
  • Multi-award winning
  • 30,000 delighted clients

With the inside track on the new, the old, the off-the-beaten track and the out-of-this-world, you won't find a more knowledgeable team of destination specialists.

Meet Our Experts
Curators of extraordinary experiences, you won't find a more skillful team.
30,000 Delighted Customers
"Kensington, you've done it again...perfection!"

Don't take our word for it.
Here's what our clients say.

"Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent."

Newsletter Subscription
Have our hand picked trips, news & specials delivered to you.
Thank you for signing up!

Your details have been received and processed successfully.
National Geographic Traveler : 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2014 Travel + Leisure : World's Best Award 2014 Family National Geographic Traveler : 50 Tours of a Lifetime